(WYTV)- So where did the shame on you gesture come from?

Why does it mean shame? The short answer is, nobody knows. It’s strictly a North American gesture.

Try this in anywhere else in the world and no one will know what you’re trying to do. Here are some theories.
It mimics an adult slapping a hand on a child’s wrist to correct misbehavior. The pointing draws attention to the wrong-doer, and the rubbing of the finger represents punishment, meaning the wrong-doer should be hit for what he or she just did.

The motion resembles friction, such as sawing.

And once, a long time ago, we cut off the fingers of pickpockets, so it came down to us a reminder to our children: behave yourselves.

The position of the fingers is similar to that of a cross, so the motion resembles breaking a crucifix, similar to holding up your two fingers crossed to ward off a demon. Children do it to children and adults to children but almost never adult to adult.

The wag of the finger came from ancient Rome, the pagan priests would use it to show displeasure.
After Christianity became the empire’s official religion, the finger wag became a forbidden expression.
All throughout the Middle Ages, “wagging thine finger” was punishable by death.

The Enlightenment, saw the return of the finger wag, it was okay again. By this time, no one really knew what it meant, but the fact that people once died for doing it made the finger wag a sign of anger.

As time went on, it lessened until it meant slight anger.